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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Cooking or Baking (01/04/07)

TITLE: Nothing Left
By Pat Guy
01/10/07


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She was dying and she knew it.

Emaciated and weak, she cleared the dust from her lungs. It was everywhere. The slightest movement of her sandals stirred parched land beneath her feet. It was dying too. Oppressive heat moved through out the city looking for those ready to succumb to this drought. Not many could hold out much longer.

She could see fathoms deep into the blue of the sky that day, like the many days before it, and just as empty were her jars at home.

Why did I come to this gate? It was foolish to walk so far to gather these few sticks for a meal that could not feed one, albeit two. But something had drawn her this way. Maybe she just couldn’t bare it anymore. Her son … her precious, precious …

Oh my son! I despair of the flesh that clings to your bones! Oh that I could give of my life to sustain yours! My heart is in anguish for you, my son … my precious, precious son.

Tears disappeared quickly into withered cheeks and wrinkled palms. Sticks fell from her grasp and tumbled to the cracked earth along the city wall. She slid down its support as legs gave way … her soul no longer had the strength to stand.

The mournful sway of her body caught the attention of a man.

An observer would say his intent was to walk in her direction as though he had purpose of her. But she took no notice. Despair is like that. One cannot see beyond its thick black veil.

He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so that I may have a drink?”*

She looked up at this stranger who shielded her from the sun. His dress was that of a prophet. But it was more than his apparel that drew her to her feet. The same urgency she felt to come to this gate now drew her to fulfill this prophet’s request.

She lowered her eyes and left.

The snap of brittle wood as she walked away was her only reply.

He called to her once again, “ And bring me, please, a piece of bread.”*

Her shoulders dropped with a sigh too heavy to hold and she turned to face this impossible demand.

“As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I do not have any bread – only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I was gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son that we may eat it – and die.”*

What more could this prophet ask? There was nothing left. Even now their lives would be gone soon.

Elijah said to her, “Do not be afraid.”

The woman held on to the wall … Do not be afraid this man says? I am terrified!

“Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have.”

Sacrifice my son for a man I do not know? I cannot do this!

“Then make something for yourself and your son,” He continued.

Is this a mockery of our lives? To give all, only to have nothing left … but death? Her gaze did not waver from his. She searched for something … anything in his eyes.

He spoke to her silent plea, “For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says; ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord gives rain on the land.’”*

Sealed with assurance, she went away and did what Elijah told her.

She baked all she had left and served Elijah the meager cake of bread while her son watched and kept eye on the stranger – as his own stomach ached … as the fragrance of fire and food tortured his hunger … as his mama smiled calm assurance to his face.

She gathered his thin body into her loving arms and whispered close to his ear … “My son, my son … my precious, precious son … go look into the jar of flour and lift the jug of oil. It is time now for a feast!”


Empty had been made full … with life.











Based on the story from 1Kings 17:7-15

*1Kings 17:10 NIV
*1Kings 17:11 NIV
*1Kings 17:12 NIV
*1Kings 17:14 NIV


©2007


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This article has been read 1575 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shari Armstrong 01/11/07
Love it - a wonderful example of how God always supplies our need!
Lesley-Anne Evans01/11/07
This piece is wonderful... very poetically written and draws one into the character deeply. I can see this piece being a soliloqy (sp?) in a way... a drama by one person... and it would be very moving! Thanks for sharing your words and your heart in this piece.
Blessings,
Lesley-Anne
Laurie Glass01/11/07
I love this. I'd be so afraid to attempt a piece like this, but clearly you know how it's done. Thanks for drawing us in to this wonderful story.
Rhonda Clark 01/11/07
Very good interpretation of the scripture. I was captivated to the end. Wonderful.
Amy Michelle Wiley 01/12/07
I especially enjoyed the beginning and ending. Watch your POV shifts. Great story!
Linda Watson Owen01/12/07
Beautifully written story! You really made this familiar Biblical account come alive! I could see and feel this woman's heart and soul. Bravo!
Joanne Sher 01/15/07
Just breathtaking - I felt like I was right there. This is a story that NEEDED to be told from the widow's point of view, and you have done an amazing job of doing so!
Helen Paynter01/15/07
Oh yes, right up my street. Beautifully, poetically written. I loved the POV and the way you took us under the skin of the story.
Jan Ackerson 01/15/07
Beautifully done, Pat--you really gave us a glimpse into this woman's soul. Bravo!
Crista Darr01/15/07
I love how you portray the widow as a woman of faith, yet still with her struggles - just like us. Very well written piece. Congrats.
Chuck Livermore01/15/07
Excellent piece. This is perhaps my favorite. At least of those I've read.
Sharlyn Guthrie01/15/07
You made this well-known story come alive. The woman's desperation was vivdly portrayed through your detailed descriptions.
Catrina Bradley 01/16/07
Beautiful and powerful! One little thing - in the 4th paragraph, "bare" should be "bear". Love this story, wonderful writing - such talent!!
william price01/16/07
I don't know what to say, Pat. I appreciate reading a talented author more than playing a challenging golf course. The artistry demonstrated here is inspiring. Even though I am familiar with story, you brought it to life with a unique and anointed perspective. You are very gifted. Thanks for sharing and caring to bring forth this story so masterfully. God bless.
Betty Castleberry01/16/07
No question from me as to why you are in masters. This is beautifuly written.
Sandra Petersen 01/16/07
Your first three paragraphs describe the desperate setting very well. Your descriptions are vivid throughout.

There were so many sentences and turns of phrase that were beautiful that I would take up too much room cutting and pasting, but here are some: "She could see fathoms deep into the blue of the sky that day. . .", "Tears disappeared quickly into withered cheeks and wrinkled palms. Sticks fell from her grasp and tumbled to the cracked earth along the city wall. She slid down its support as legs gave way … her soul no longer had the strength to stand.", and "Her shoulders dropped with a sigh too heavy to hold and she turned to face this impossible demand."

I am glad you ended the story where you did. The ending was enough to wrench my heart from my body, and, though I knew the triumph that Scripture says followed her obedience, I still ached with the little boy. Well done!
Pat Guy 01/16/07
This is a brilliant portrayal of the 'work in progress' we all are.

The sruggle - the failure, the struggle - the victory.

Yep - that's life as a Christian. Great reality writing here!
Pat Guy 01/16/07
Oh No! I thought I was at Christa's entry! (I'm so embarrassed) Sorry!
Tabiatha Tallent01/16/07
This is beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes, and yet, hope to my heart ;0)
Leigh MacKelvey01/16/07
My goodness .. If this is Master's work ( and surely it is!), I better stay in advanced at least another year or two. I was moved deeply by this story and in awe of the writing. Thanks for your entry!
janet rubin01/16/07
Very good, Pat. You put me in her shoes (uh, sandals). I could imagine the uncertainty- do I listen to this guy? trust him? Yet wanting to hope..
Caitlynn Lowe01/16/07
A great piece; very well written. :)
Sally Hanan01/17/07
Great work Pat. I do believe you're getting to be a dab hand at the old grammar and punctuation - couldn't find anything to correct :) and I enjoyed the way you threw us into the story and kept us there til the end.
Jen Davis01/17/07
Beautifully written. My favorite line: “Tears disappeared quickly into withered cheeks and wrinkled palms.” My only suggestion would be to change “through out” to throughout. I loved the story—such a wonderful retelling. Indeed, this is masterfully writing.
Sara Harricharan 01/17/07
I love this version of the Elijah story. Never read it from her POV before, very realistic and vivid. The ending is my favorite part-good job and good title!
terri tiffany01/18/07
Whoo HOO!!!! I knew you'd do well but this is terrific!! This is one of your best stories! Congrats!
Jan Ross01/18/07
Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! So vivid! So deeply emotional. So well done! Congratulations -- indeed a well-deserved win! :)
Debbie OConnor01/18/07
Great descriptions. Congratulations!
Lesley-Anne Evans01/18/07
I am so happy for you and your win. This piece is unique and I celebrate with you.

Blessings,

Lesley-Anne
william price01/18/07
Congratulations Pat! I know what I'm talking about when I tell you that you are one of the best of the best. Awesome job! God bless.
Valora Otis01/18/07
Pat, this is beautiful. I felt her emotions especially the joy at the end. I love this story and you made it come to life for your readers. Yes, you are a master and I am forever a student.
Cassie Memmer01/20/07
Absolutely beautiful, Pat. A well-deserved win. Very poetic, smooth, and... beautiful! :)
Venice Kichura01/23/07
WOW, Pat!!

I'm finally getting around to read your winning entry & can see why it took 1st place! What a creative take on a much beloved Old Testament story! Excellent job & congrats!
Susan Watson11/19/08
Wow, I truly got goosebumps, and I knew the end of the story before I read it. The way you looked into the woman, not just the situation, made this come alive. And ["But she took no notice. Despair is like that. One cannot see beyond its thick black veil."] is so true! I suffer from major depression and bipolar disorder, and was four years ago in that despair so that I tried to take my life; the tunnel vision that I experienced was just like your description. Isn't it wonderful that when we can't see beyond our weakness, God is so near and our "ever-present help in time of need." (Psalm 46:1)
I am looking forward to reading more of your work!
Susan Watson11/19/08
Wow, I truly got goosebumps, and I knew the end of the story before I read it. The way you looked into the woman, not just the situation, made this come alive. And ["But she took no notice. Despair is like that. One cannot see beyond its thick black veil."] is so true! I suffer from major depression and bipolar disorder, and was four years ago in that despair so that I tried to take my life; the tunnel vision that I experienced was just like your description. Isn't it wonderful that when we can't see beyond our weakness, God is so near and our "ever-present help in time of need." (Psalm 46:1)
I am looking forward to reading more of your work!
Mariane Holbrook02/01/09
This is stunning. What a well-deserved win. Some of your phrases almost wipe me out, no kidding. What a masterful job!